ST. GEORGE – The Washington County Commission is questioning the Bureau of Land Management’s closure of Recapture Canyon in San Juan County, the BLM’s delay in reopening the canyon and calling for the immediate reopening of Recapture Canyon.
In a resolution passed at a special meeting this week, the commission called on the BLM to recognize San Juan County’s right of way through Recapture Canyon and immediately lift the road’s closure.
“It’s just typical overreach,” Commissioner Alan Gardner said. “Transferring public lands to the counties would eliminate most of the problems.”
On May 10, more than 200 people gathered in Blanding to protest the BLM’s decision to restrict the off-highway vehicle use of trails through Recapture Canyon. The restrictions were put in place to allow archeological research in the area of dwellings and ancient artifacts.
To protest the closure, a group of riders took OHVs, all-terrain vehicles and horses through the canyon. The group included community members, sheriff’s office deputies, out-of-state protestors and San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman. Following the protest ride, BLM state director Juan Palma stated that the BLM would pursue legal action against the riders.
Read more: Blanding: OHV riders, militia protest BLM, ride through Recapture Canyon; STGnews Photo Gallery (UPDATED)
Since the protest, five people have been charged with operation of off-road vehicles on public lands and conspiracy. Lyman is among those being charged with these crimes.
More than 66 percent of land in Washington County is managed by federal agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S Forest Service and the National Park Service.
- Commission denounces BLM’s actions over Recapture Canyon protest in Blanding
- Blanding: OHV riders, militia protest BLM, ride through Recapture Canyon; STGnews Photo Gallery
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